ASK fires a lot of teachers. And a lot of the teachers that aren’t fired choose not to stay. ASK’s retention rate is abysmal.
We can count 8 people that have been fired this year. Note – this includes people whose contracts were terminated immediately as well as people in the middle of 2-year contracts that were asked not to return next year for the second year. Of these 8, we can confirm 2 that were fired immediately, with one occurring just two days prior to this writing.
We have started receiving a high volume of e-mails and comments from people that are not former faculty. Most of these e-mails are from parents and students, both former and current. The overarching theme of these e-mails is the perception that ASK does not have a “professional” teaching faculty.
Some data bares this out. ASK, in particular in recent years, has had difficult with recruiting with many teachers declining contract offers. This leads to a lot of late-season hiring and, generally, these candidates are not the strongest. In many instances, ASK has had to offer contracts to teachers that are not directly certified to teach the subject in which ASK plans to have them teach. This behavior is catching up to ASK, because with accreditation visits next year, strategies like this will not be acceptable. ASK has found itself with teachers that, while they are perfectly good employees and teachers, do not have the qualifications to teach their appointed subjects. In some cases, ASK has been able to transfer these teachers to the appropriate subjects, but in others, they were simply terminated.
This set of facts should set off alarm bells – both for prospective employees as well as prospective parents. A school that is unable to hire teachers certified in the particular subject in which they will teach is not a school that will last long. Something has to give – either many of the AP subjects that are currently offered will have to go away (take AP Physics for instance – ASK has had extreme difficulty finding a qualified teacher for AP Physics over the last few years), or – if ASK continues to install unqualified teachers – their accreditation will suffer and perhaps even lapse.
ASK is one of the most expensive schools in Kuwait. If we were paying the tuition of a student to attend a school, we would certainly expect for 100% of all faculty to be certified in the appropriate subjects.
In general, employee retention is difficult. In the past few years, teachers have left ASK in droves. You can count the number of teaching faculty who have been at ASK for more than 5 years on one hand. Astonishing. Parents paying such a high tuition deserve to have a more experienced faculty. At the end of the 2017 school year, we calculated that more than 41% of teachers at ASK were departing. That means that this year’s faculty consists of only 59% of teachers that have any experience at ASK. The average teacher turnover rate for schools in NESA (of which ASK is a member) is 17%. (Mancuso, Roberts, & White 2010)
It’s time for ASK to get it together. ASK needs to recruit faculty with experience and certification, and then it needs to implement policies (like those suggested on this page) which will retain those teachers.